Benfica beckons for Fife Elite academy duo

Jack Smith - Raith U20s and Fife Elite Academy
Jack Smith - Raith U20s and Fife Elite Academy

Two players in the Fife Elite Football Academy (FEFA) have been invited to attend the world famous Benfica FC Academy in April of this year.

Under 17 players Paul Allan, from Dunfermline, and Jack Smith, from Glenrothes, will train each day for four weeks in Lisbon as members of the Benfica International Elite Development Programme.

Both players are hopeful of securing professional contracts at the end of the season with their respective ‘parent’ club and this outstanding opportunity should stand them in good stead should they be offered contracts.

FEFA serves the four senior clubs in Fife and was created in 2014 when the four senior clubs in Fife came together to form a SFA backed Regional Academy.

Whilst both play for Fife Elite U16/17s in the Club Academy Scotland programme, Paul features regularly for Dunfermline Athletic U20s and Jack does likewise for his parent club Raith Rovers.

The four week programme focuses on developing technical skills and on improving players’ mindsets. During the course of the four week period the boys will train every day, take part in strength and conditioning sessions and play at least one match per week against local opposition.

Head of Academy Coaching at FEFA, Stephen Wright, said: “Both players have done really well in the past seasons and this is just reward for all the hard work they have put in over the years.

“I was part of an SFA led party to visit Benfica last year and the facilities are magnificent. Their Academy produces many world class players and both Paul and Jack can only come back better players for the experience.

“It is our hope that in the years to come, we can continue to develop the relationship we are forming with Benfica.”

Fife Elite Academy is helping to fund the cost of the trip and they are appealing to supporters of Dunfermline and Raith to help raise the monies needed to send the players on this once in a lifetime experience.

To find out how to contribute email Head of Youth at FEFA Bill Hendry at bill@fefa.club or visit the Fife Elite Twitter page @FifeEliteFA.